I tend to agree with you Robusto.
The caveat being Im only new to drinking straight espresso, and I still drink predominantly milk based drinks. Mostly piccolos and flat whites. I have been drinking more and more espresso at home trying to discern differences in blends and roast levels et al.
I keep getting told by those who should know that a well made shot of espresso should have natural sweetness ie caramelised sugars from the roasted bean. When Ive asked these same people to make me a shot of this sweet sweet espresso Ive received a wide variety of tastes but only in a very few could I taste anything that resembled what I know as sweetness. Of the shots Ive had that presented some sweetness, it seemed to be kind raisin or fruitcake sort of sensation but always in the background, with a bitterness predominating.
If I add about half a teaspoon of sugar then even average shots go down a lot more easily. Im not sure why, but I feel guilty for adding sugar to espresso. Its kind of like Im having a shandy... :-[
During a barista competition I was watching the competitors described their cappuccinos as traditional. That meant no chocolate powder because the natural sweetness of the espresso and milk (lactose) negated it.
I think that there is sweetness to be found in espresso, but only when the shot has been well constructed and if your palate is used to the type of sweetness that espresso exhibits. I read a lot of wine reviews and much of the time I wonder if Im ever going to find half of what is described.
Stephen still looking for blueberries Frame